Watercrook and the River Kent.

Start. Oxenholme.

Route. Oxenholme - Natland - Hawes Lane - Crow Park - Lancaster Canal - Watercrook Farm - River Kent - Hawes Bridge - Larkrigg - Cracalt - Helm Lane - High House - Burton Road - Oxenholme.

Notes. Apart from wandering around the woodland and farmland of South Cumbria, I've been social distancing in my back garden, which until a few weeks ago was as overgrown as some of the scrub and rough limestone pastures I'm used to wandering through. Trees have been felled, brambles cleared with considerable blood loss, walls built and hedgerows laid, the land had been cultivated and raked level (ish), it was now time to visit my local Garden Centre, we needed grass seeds and a sprinkler.

My local garden centre is actually a well known DIY store, exactly a mile down the road from my home with its newly cultivated back garden. So I grabbed the biggest bag I owned, last used on the West Highland Way and, we headed out to do a spot of retail therapy, the long way, well we may as well make a walk of it, combine it with our daily exercise.

We left Oxenholme via field paths allowing access to Natland, once in the village the tarmac surface of Hawes Lane guided us to Crowpark Bridge, here a metal kissing gate allowed access to the Lancaster Canal. Easy walking followed all the way to Watercrook where I switched the GPS off, you don't really want to know the route we followed to the DIY store.

With a bag full of grass seeds and anything else Sue could cram in we set out from Watercrook, switched the GPS back on which pointed south but we felt the need to visit Watercrook Roman Fort, located in a crook of the River Kent behind Watercrook Farm. Lets be honest there's not a lot above ground level, ploughing over many centuries as decimated it, apart from that it was guarded be a herd of bloody big cows, rather than brave the bovine lawnmowers we turned south, letting river side paths guide us to Hawes Lane.

Hawes Lane could have guided us home, instead we opted to continue in the company of the River Kent. Through sheep pastures and coppice woodland we strolled, the path ended at a bridleway, we turned sharp left letting the bridleway guide us between hedge rows and dry stone walls. After ascending a field we stepped onto Larkrigg Hall Bridge, this conveyed us over the dry canal before we continued on the bridleway to Carcalt with it's tree lined access drive. After following the drive through dappled light we were greeted by a finger-post promising access to High House. Field paths then guided us to the tarmac of Helm Lane, after turning right we wandered passed High House, under the West Coast Main Line then ascended a steep hill emerging onto Burton Road a stones throw from Oxenholme.

view route map.


Natland with the steeple of St Mark's Church dominating the village.

Sheep pastures off Hawes Lane.

Near Crow Park viewing the Shap Fells with the Whinfell range to the right.

Crowpark Bridge.

Natland Hall Bridge.

Seen from the canal near Natland Hall Bridge, the shadowed ridge running from Brunt Knott across Potter Fell, backed by a sunlit Sleddale Fells.

The canal approaching Watrecrook.

Looking over the site of Watercrook Roman Fort.

Your looking at a Satury, a low mound of earth, not believed to be related to the fort. Documents relating to the name suggest its meaning is a place related to a Roman Temple, dedicated to the god Saturn, it is generally agreed the word relates to Old Norse "saetrhaugr" meaning the mound of the settlement.

The River Kent south of Watercrook.

The Kent at Prizet, the leat on the opposite bank once carried water to power the machinery of a bobbin mill.

Wild Garlic in a small copse near Hawes Bridge.

Seen from Hawes Bridge the River Kent.

The River Kent south of Hawes Gorge.

Nearing Cracalt.

Trees line the access lane to Cracalt.

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